We Have a Dream

The following speech won 1st place in the Honjo Yuri Recitation and Speech Contest 2017. It was written by Yume Ogawa from Honjo Higashi Junior High School.

We Have a Dream

(997,718) Nine hundred and ninety-seven thousand, seven hundred and eighteen.

Do you know this number? This is the population of Akita Prefecture now. It has been decreasing year after year. This is something that I am very concerned about, and I think we have to do something about it. In this speech, I will talk about some of the problems that might cause this, and offer some solutions that might help.

Let's talk about some factors that contribute to the falling population,. The first is lack of jobs. When students graduate from university, most will leave Akita to bigger cities like Tokyo, or Osaka to look for work, because the career they want to have cannot be found here.

Not many people owuld be encouraged to have a family, and as a result, there will not be many nursery schools or other places to cater to those who will take care of their children during working hours.

Second, our public transportation system is not as convenient as other cities. If you do not hav ea car, you cannot nmove around easily, and you would have to wait a long time to catch a bus.

Last year, I went to Minoh City in Osaka. Then I found it was bigger than Yurihonjo City. I also found transportation facilities were much more convenient than ours. In Minoh City, it seemed they spend more money on education, so their population is increasing. Whatever Minoh City were doing attracted me. So I have to ask: Why is our population decreasing?

Now, when I think about Akita, I think of many great things. One of them is the natural beauty. There are many places where you can relax, hike, and enjoy any time of the year. The Shirakami Sanchi mountain range is a World Heritage site, where you can find the last beech forests in Japan.It's perfect for hikes. Lake Tazawa is the deepest lake in Japan. It never freezes over in winter and is very popular for sightseeing tours.

Akita has a lot of unique festivals, like the cherry blossom viewing in Kakunodate in spring; the Kanto and Omagari fireworks festivals in the summer; and the Namahage and Kamakura festivals in the winter.

Akita also has many unique dishes. Inaniwa Udon is a dish that goes back to the Edo period. It is made only by hand and is one of the 3 udon dishes that is not only popular in Japan, but all over the world. "Hinai-jidori" is also one of the 3 major chicken brands. In Akita, we cook kiritampo using this chicken. It is very delicious, and many people love to eat it.

I want to show you a wonderful example of someone coming to Akita to live and work here. In Yashima, Hanadate Clean Heights, Mr. Oka was invited as a special restaurant chef. He made some original recipes, using ingredients from Akita. Mr. Oka wanted to help Akita with his work. He moved to Yashima from Osaka this spring and lives there now. We have a lot of good examples of people coming to Akita and settling down. But I think that we can do much more to improve our situation.

Here are some ideas that could help in promoting Akita and increase the population here. We can improve the quality of PR whenever we promote certain festivals in Akita by making promotional booths in bigger cities. In this way, people have a preview of the events. From now on, young people should make special efforts to advertise Akita's charms. I will do that in the future.

We could use the money earned from various events and tourist destination here in Akita to help fund schools, hospitals, nurseries and make life easier for those who want to raise a family. Promotion like this will make Akita an active place and will help increase the population. Also, our transportation facilitates will improve and jobs will increase.

I would like to become a doctor in the future and someday live in Akita, to promote activities for the prefecture I know and love. I believe all of us have a dream in making Akita a better, more enjoyable place for everyone.

Thank you for listening.

See also